Lawn Care Glossary
everything for lawn care all in one place
providing dependable & original lawn tips since 2008
The Lawn Guide
a collection of common terms used in lawn care

Lawn Care Glossary

Lawn Care

Lawn sward is the mat of grass and runners which makes up a lawn.

Sward Density
Sward density is the denseness of the lawn, and most notably the density of it's stolons, but also including the density of leaf shoots from the stems. The greater the sward density - the less likely the lawn will become invaded by weeds. Sward density is what makes Zoysia so weed resistant.

Organic Lawn Care
Methods to manage the health of a lawn using the most natural lawn care products available, while reducing the use of chemical products such as weed sprays and chemical fertilisers. Also includes lawn care practices to prevent lawn problems occurring.

Cultural Management
This term refers to all of the natural and preventative things we do to keep our lawns healthy, including proper watering, mowing and fertilising to name a few.

Rhizomes are the below ground runners of warm season grasses including Zoysia, Kikuyu and Couch. The presence of rhizomes greatly aid a lawn in drought tolerance and drought recovery.

Stolons are the above ground runners of warm season grasses including Couch, Buffalo, Kikuyu, Queensland Blue, and Zoysia.

Thatch is the layer of dead and living materials beneath the green leaf of the lawn. Thatch is what makes a lawn feel spongy underfoot.

Tillering refers to how many green leaf shoots emerge from a grass stem. The greater the tillering of a lawn, the more green leaves are present - making for a beautiful green and healthy lawn which is more resistant to weeds. The easiest way to promote more tillering is with regular lawn mowing.

Lawn Edging
The process of cutting away the overgrowth of lawns around it's edges, most notably along pathways and garden bed edges. Often done with an edging machine, whipper snipper or spade. Aggressive warm season lawns will need the most frequent edging.

Crowns in all plants, weeds and lawns are the part of the plant which shoots out new roots, stems and leaves. Plants cannot continue to live without their crowns. However, killing or removing crowns in some weeds and lawns may not have the same effect if the weed or lawn has underground rhizomes or corms (corms are similar to bulbs).

Lawn Repair

Vertimowing / Scarifying / De-thatching
The process of removing excessive built up thatch in lawns. Most usually done with special vertimowing machines. A heavy and dirty job best left to specialised contractors. Only to be done in the warmer months.

Over Seeding / Over Sowing
Over seeding is when lawn seed is sown into an existing lawn. This can be done to repair dead patches in a lawn, or to add a cool season lawn type to a warm season lawn to keep it green over Winter.

Drought Tolerance
Drought tolerance is the ability of a lawn type to stay alive during periods of low water or drought. Drought tolerance does not mean the ability for a grass to stay green during drought! Many grasses which stay greener for longer at the beginning of drought often have the worst rate of recovery from drought.

Drought Recovery
The ability of a lawn type to fully recover after periods of sustained lack of water, as well as the speed of any such recovery. Most grasses which seem to brown off quickest during early drought, seem often to only be hibernating, and then recovery quickest after drought has ended.

Shade Tolerance
Shade tolerance is the ability of a lawn to stay alive and healthy in areas of partial shade. Kikuyu and Couch have the worst shade tolerance, with Durban and Buffalo having the best shade tolerance. No lawn can survive without some direct sunlight every day.


Lawn Fertilisers
A collection of nutrients which are combined in a granular or liquid form which are regularly applied to a lawn to feed it with it's nutritional requirements. Most lawn fertilisers are chemically derived. Always buy a quality fertiliser with Trace Elements.

Organic Lawn Fertilisers
These are often best described as foods or tonics. Organic lawn fertilisers can be derived from any type of natural product including seaweed, manures and blood and bone to name a few. Due to their natural nature, these fertilisers are often not balanced lawn fertilisers, hence the reason why they are often called tonics or foods. Balancing their use with a quality in-organic fertiliser a couple of times a year is often recommended.

Slow Release Fertiliser
A standard chemical lawn fertiliser which is designed to release nutrients slowly over time, often months. These fertilisers will not burn lawns, but will also not help green up or repair a lawn quickly, and are best suited to good lawn management practices. Best to mow without a catcher for 1-3 mowings after application so to not remove fertiliser from the sward.

In order, this refers to the ratio of primary nutrients inside fertiliser products, N = Nitrogen, P = Phosphorous, K = Potassium.

Trace Elements
These are the nutrients inside fertilisers (and soils) which exist in only minuscule amounts, and include Iron and Manganese as just two of many examples. Despite their tiny proportions - these trace elements are vital to all lawns. Never skimp on fertilisers and never buy a product without trace elements!

Lawn Weeds Pests Diseases

The grub stage in the life of a beetle - lawn beetle in reference to lawn care.

Lawn Grubs
A generic term used to describe both lawn caterpillars including army worm and sod webworm, as well the larval stage of lawn beetle. With caterpillars being the most destructive and lawn beetle larvae being often wrongly blamed for damage.

Lawn Fungus
A variety of different lawn diseases including but not limited to Dollar Spot, Brown Patch and Spring Dead Spot

Broadleaf Weeds
A collection of many different weed types which have been collectively called "Broadleaf" due to the common wider width of their leaf blades.

Broadleaf Weed Killer
A weed killing herbicide which will kill most broadleaf weed types, but will not kill all weed types. For multiple heavy weed infestations, a broadleaf weed killer is often the very first weed killer to use as it will kill the greatest number of weed types in a single application.

A weed or plant killing chemical.

Selective Herbicide
A weed killing chemical which can be applied to a lawn and selectively kill only certain weed types with minimum to no damage occurring to the lawn. Some selective herbicides can kill some grass types including Buffalo, Kikuyu and Paspalum - read label carefully before purchase or application.

Broad Spectrum Herbicide
A weed killing chemical which will kill almost every plant it comes into contact with, including lawns. Most well known type is Glyphosate (Roundup).

Lawn Varieties

Cool Season Grass
Also known as Bunching Grasses, Cool Season Lawns are best suited to cooler climates only. They contain no Stolons, and usually contain no Rhizomes. Types include Fescue, Bluegrass and Ryegrass.

Warm Season Grass
Also known as Creeping or Running Grasses, Warm Season Lawns are best suited to the warmer climates, and contain Stolons, but not all contain Rhizomes. Grasses with stolons only include Queensland Blue and Buffalo. Grasses which contain both Stolons and Rhizomes include Zoysia, Couch and Kikuyu.

All content original and copyright
The Lawn Guide

lawn care & maintenance, seasonal care, lawn fertilising, lawn clippings & seeding

different lawn types, including independent and unbiased reviews of popular brands of turf

repair problems in lawns, thatch, scalping, lawn coring, dead lawn patches & improving soil

proper lawn mowing techniques, correct lawn mowing heights, mower reviews, maintenance

prevention, identification & treatment of lawn weeds, lawn diseases & lawn pests

correct watering, wetting agents, lawn disease factors, & more for optimum lawn health
Professional lawn care videos sharing quality lawn care tips in an easy video format - click to watch
preparing soils for new lawns video
meanings to the most common terms
used in lawn care practices in australia
Grab this image and link to Australia's original & favourite source of quality lawn care tips
Lawn care tips for Australia's favourite shade grass
Organic lawn care advice to create environmental benefit from our lawns
Lawn Clippings Are Full Of Natural Nutrients Lawn clippings from mowing are an excellent...
Using Artificial Fertilisers In Organic Lawn Care The principles of organic lawn care involve...
Good Lawn Care Is Key To Preventing Weeds As people who take the ideals of organic lawn care...
A low maintenance and environmentally friendly lawn for all warmer regions
Roadsides are perfect for Zoysia Zoysia - The Great Choice For Low & Medium Use Government...
Different Types Of Zoysia Grasses There are several different varieties within the Zoysia...
Zoysia Tenuifolia - A Very Different Lawn Zoysia tenuifolia is very different from all other...
Lawn care discussions and observations in a friendly blog format from The Lawn Guide
Lawns Are The Greatest Carbon Cleaners We should all have confidence in our lawns, knowing...
Lawn Club is a new lawn care, lawn mowing, and gardening contractors business information...
Where Do Lawns Come From We're all very accustomed to our lawns these days, they seem to be...

Lawn Care Topics
the lawn guide ~ australia's leading source of quality lawn care information